Chautauqua Mountain Loop
Located between the Palmer Lake town reservoirs and Raspberry Mountain, Chautauqua Mountain is largely unknown, except to local residents. Any maps that do show a trail there only show the steepest route on the peak's north side, ignoring a nice scenic trail the runs the full length of the over 1-mile-long mountain top. The views are great, and although some parts of this loop hike may be arduous, most of the hike is moderate and very pleasant. To get there from Colorado Springs: Take I-25 to Exit 161 (Highway 105), Turn left on Hwy 105, cross back over I-25 then right at the traffic light. Continue on Hwy 105, turning left on to S. Valley Road. Bear right on to S. Valley Road immediately after turning off of Hwy 105. Turn left onto the one-way Old Carriage Road and look for the trailhead and parking at the hairpin turn at the bottom of the hill.
Join us for a bagel and fruit breakfast at a Bike to Work Day celebration location near you! The downtown celebration will be at America the Beautiful park with Mayor Suthers. We will also be at the University Village Colorado shopping center on Nevada and 10 YMCA locations throughout the city!
Join the fun with Mayor Suthers as he leads a community ride to America the Beautiful Park! Ride departs Goose Gossage Park at 6 a.m. More than 100 riders joined in the fun last year, and we’re looking to make it even bigger this year.
Mountain Metro Rides organizes Bike to Work Day activities each June to encourage bicycling for personal and community health, alternative transportation, recreation and sustainability. Help us celebrate by riding your bike to one of our many breakfast locations around the city. Invite your friends, family and coworkers to join the fun!
· Give cyclists at least three feet of space when passing: Even if it requires crossing the center line, if it is safe – or risk a ticket.
· Wait a few seconds: If you don’t have three feet to pass then wait until there is enough room to pass safely.
· Take a brake: Reduce speed when encountering bicyclists.
· Scan, then turn: Look for bicyclists before making turns and make sure the road is clear before proceeding.
· Cyclists must ride as far right as possible: And not impede traffic when passing other riders or riding two abreast.
· Side-by-Side Rule: Ride no more than two abreast; move to single-file if riding two abreast impedes the flow of motorized traffic.
· Ride Predictably: Scan the road, anticipate hazards, and communicate your moves to others.
· Signal First: Use hand signals to alert nearby vehicles to turns or lane changes.
Hike Signal Butte
At barely a mile round-trip, Signal Butte is likely to be the shortest hike I'll write about in this blog. It's far shorter than any trail or hike that would normally attract my attention, but this little hike has a number of things going for it: relative obscurity, easy accessibility, moderate difficultly and great views. (By now you know how much I value great views.) Signal Butte and the surrounding area were consumed by 2002's Hayman Fire. 14 years later, there are signs that the environment is just now starting to recover.It takes a bit of driving to get to Signal Butte, so you may to consider doing it when you're on your way to or from another hike. In any case, give it a try.
Officials at the Air Force Academy reopened the six-mile stretch of the New Santa Fe Regional Trail running through the base to non-Defense Department ID card-holders June 6.
Col. Troy Dunn, commander of the 10th Air Base Wing, said senior officials understand the importance of the trail to the local communities, but must balance openness with safety and security.
"Only through an outstanding partnership with the County were we able to get here," Dunn said. "The support of El Paso County, the City of Colorado Springs and the surrounding communities is vital to the success of our mission. Together, we can ensure the Academy continues to accomplish its mission while minimizing the impact to our community."
Academy officials closed the trail in May 2015.
"We closed the trail to non-DOD ID card-holders due to security concerns, and it remained closed while El Paso County completed ground maintenance on the trail for public safety and could guarantee the trail was safe for pedestrian and cyclist traffic," Dunn said.
El Paso County is responsible for trail maintenance under an agreement with the Academy. The County completed trail maintenance and plans to make major repairs once it receives confirmation of Federal Emergency Management Agency funding, which County Commissioner Darryl Glenn said is expected soon.
"We continue to be thankful that the Air Force Academy allows this critical section of the New Santa Fe Regional Trail to pass through the Academy," Glenn said. "We also have appreciated the patience of trail users as we addressed both safety and security concerns."
Along with the trail maintenance, the County will lead efforts to organize a trail watch group to report suspicious activity or problems on the trail. Interested citizens are encouraged to visit elpasocountyparks.com for more information.
"The citizens who enjoy the trail on a regular basis and who have offered to be additional, consistent, watchful eyes on the trail show this community's commitment to our military partners in fulfilling their mission," said County Commissioner Peggy Littleton.
1. Do not confront a suspicious person.
2. Report any suspicious activity to the Air Force Academy Security Office – 719-333-2000.
3. When contacting the Air Force Academy Security Office, please be prepared to report the description, current location, and direction of travel of the suspicious person.
4. In case of emergency, call 911.
Platte River Trail hike
Located in the Pike National Forest, just north of Lake George, Platte River Trail #654 provides an enjoyable hike that features cooling wooded areas, the South Platte River and, of course, great views. While not named on my maps, locals have told me that this area is known as "Wildcat Canyon." (I didn't see any wild cats.) Although mostly an easy to moderate trail, there's a more strenuous uphill section, but since it's on the final leg of the hike you can skip it all together or just turn around there.
PIKES PEAK RANGER DISTRICT TEMPORARILY CLOSED CRAGS AREA UNTIL HAZARD TREES ARE REMOVED
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., May 23, 2016…The Pikes Peak Ranger District of the Pike-San Isabel National Forest has temporarily closed the Crags area, including the Crags Campground and Forest Road 383, due to a large number of trees that pose a safety hazard to the public.
U.S. Forest Service personnel have discovered hazardous trees in areas frequently used by visitors for camping. A spruce beetle infestation several years ago has left many of the shallow rooted spruce trees standing dead along Forest Road 383. The closure will last several weeks until the hazard trees can be cut from the campground and parking areas.
This closure prohibits all public entry into the area including camping, day use, hiking, and access to the Crags and Devils Playground trails off of Forest Road 383 in Teller County.
Hazard tree removal and associated road closures are expected along FS Road 383 over the next few years. Initially, crews will work to improve safety near the campground and trailheads, but will continue working along the roadway later this fall and in future years.
Once U.S. Forest Service crews have finished cutting the hazard trees in the campground and at the trailheads, the road will re-open, however camping will be only allowed in the Crags Campground and parking will only be allowed at designated trailheads and within the campground. Dispersed camping and campfires along FS Road 383 will be prohibited due to safety concerns from the hazard trees once the road has been re-opened.
The Crags Area is a popular area for camping with the trailheads that lead to popular destinations such as the rocky outcropping of “The Crags” and the summit of Pikes Peak via the Devils Playground Trail.
Visitors are urged to take extra precautions when recreating in the area this summer due to the number of hazard trees in the vicinity.
For more information about the Crags area and closure, please contact the Pikes Peak Ranger District at (719) 636-1602. More information about alternate camping and recreation areas can also be found on Recreation.gov: www.recreation.gov or, the Pike-San Isabel National Forest public website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/psicc
Jeep Arch hike, Moab
Located west of Moab,Utah, Jeep Arch is a fun, moderately strenuous hike to a uniquely shaped arch in the Utah desert. And, as I try to do with all my hikes, it also features some great views. Total round trip distance is just under 4 miles.To get there: Take US 191 north out of Moab to Potash Road (before the entrance to Arches National Park) and turn left. Take Potash Road for approximately 10.5 miles to mile marker 5, just past a marked parking lot and trailhead for the more popular Corona Arch trail. Look for a small pull-out on the right and a culvert going under the railroad tracks, this is your starting point.
The Hidden Valley Trail in Moab, Utah
Moab, Utah has a lot in common with Colorado Springs. Like Colorado Springs, its residents and visitors tend to be avid outdoor enthusiasts. They like to hike, run, cycle and photograph the great scenery that surrounds them. And Moab is a major tourist destination, just like the Springs, being the home to both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and many hundreds of square miles of other Federal lands available for recreational use. Moab is a small town that literally explodes from spring through autumn with visitors, most of whom crowd into the national parks — no doubt that if you visit you'll want to do the same thing. The views and scenery are incredible and there is nothing equal to it anyplace on earth.If you're like me, eventually you'll have your fill of society and want to go someplace a little less crowded. One of those place is Hidden Valley, just south-west of Moab. It's a nice little gem of a place and makes for a great hike. Total distance from the trailhead to the pass at the north end of the Hidden Valley and back is approximately 4 miles.
4 Mile Overlook - Dome Rock State Wildlife Area
Located adjacent to Mueller State Park in Teller County, Dome Rock State Wildlife Area has some great hiking and horseback trails. And although most of the south end of the area is off limits from December 1 through July 15 to accommodate big-horn sheep breeding, there are plenty of other trails to enjoy. One of my favorite hikes is to the Four Mile Overlook. It's a long hike at 11 miles round trip, with a couple of miles of uphill hiking, but well worth it for the views. Due to it's length and difficulty, you'll want to be well prepared for this hike, and plan for it to take most of the day.As a side note, when I returned home from this hike, I found a few tiny Rocky Mountain Wood Ticks on me. I have hiked Dome Rock SWA many times and never encountered this, and I assume that they may be just starting to appear with the recent warm weather. But these ticks can spread Colorado Tick Fever. I suggest wearing long pants and long sleeve shirts and spraying yourself with a DEET-based insect repellent if you visit this area.(The mileages in the slideshow cations below are approximate, measured with a personal GPS.)